MINISTER Jimmy Deenihan and the department of arts, heritage and the gaeltacht have been criticised for putting Limerick’s stint as City of Culture in 2014 “in jeopardy”.
Sinn Fein deputy Sandra McLellan criticised the minister and his department in Dail Eireann for “its failure thus far to guarantee funding levels” for the year of culture.
“There is increasing concern in Limerick in artistic and cultural circles as to how the project can succeed,” she said during questioning in the Dail last week.
“It is beyond belief that the Minister is expecting the local arts and culture community to organise an event like this, when, only months before it is due to start, it is unclear what funding will be available,” she added.
Sinn Fein Limerick City East representative Seán Griffin echoed the call, asking the minister to “stop hedging on the funding” for City of Culture.
“How does the Minister expect the city to plan for what is the most prestigious event in the city since the Treaty 300 if they are unaware of the funding that will be available to them for the presentation of the planned events?”
“This is an unacceptable situation for the Minister to put the City in and the laughable excuse that he is waiting for the budget to determine what funding will be available is lamentable,” he added.
Asked for a response to the calls by Sinn Fein, a spokesperson for the department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht said: “Any allocation by the Department to Limerick City of Culture 2014, in common with all other organisations and projects seeking funding, will depend on the outcome of the ongoing Estimates process for 2014.”
“Limerick’s designation as City of Culture for 2014 will deliver a programme of cultural events and engagement in arts and culture by the citizens of Limerick and beyond,” stressed the spokesperson
“In bringing artists, arts organisations, local authorities and civic groups in the city and county together in a calendar of events that will showcase all that the city has to offer, the initiative will generate a legacy locally and nationally. There are several excellent cultural venues in Limerick city which will have a central role to play in the 2014 programme of events.”